-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of nursing
home residents in the United States who receive a seasonal flu shot
is lower than the national goal, and the rate is lower for blacks
than for whites, a new study finds.
Brown University researchers examined annual patient records
from more than 14,000 nursing homes over three flu seasons, 2006-07
The overall flu vaccination rate for nursing home residents in
2008-09 was 82.75 percent, below the goal of 90 percent set by
Medicare and Medicaid. The rates were 83.46 percent for whites and
77.75 percent for blacks.
The 2008-09 rates for both whites and blacks were slightly
higher than the 2006-07 rates of 82.62 percent for whites and 75.42
percent for blacks.
Overall, in 2008-09, blacks were about 23 percent less likely
than whites to receive a flu vaccination. In individual nursing
homes, black residents were about 15 percent less likely to be
vaccinated than their white neighbors.
The study appears in the October issue of the journal
"One reason you would potentially see a difference is that blacks and whites are by and large served by different nursing homes and there's lots of evidence to suggest that blacks are served in nursing homes that are not as good," senior author Vincent Mor, professor of health services policy and practice, said in a university news release. "However, we also see a pretty persistent difference within the same homes, although it is not as large and it has lessened over time."
Another reason for the disparity is that black nursing home
residents are more likely to refuse flu vaccinations than white
residents, the study suggests. In 2008-09, 12.88 percent of blacks
refused flu vaccination, compared with 8.93 percent of whites.
Further research should investigate if black residents' higher
refusal rate has to do with how flu vaccination is offered, Mor
"The way to address the within-facility disparity is to find out why there are these refusals and determine better ways of communicating the vaccine's benefits that specifically addresses patients' reluctance and refusal," he said.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
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